Psychology & Law Journal Impact
Note: A previous version of these rankings appears in the AP-LS Newsletter.

Updated June 2017 | Because of the field's interdisciplinary nature, it is difficult to find comprehensive rankings of academic journals geared toward Psychology & Law. These journals are often scattered throughout different "categories" in traditional indices, and most indices only cover a selection of the relevant journals.

On this page is a sortable list of psychology and law academic journals along with different measures of impact. Each measure uses a different method and data source for calculating impact. A full description of these measures is found at the bottom of the page. The measures below are valid June 2017 - July 2018.

This ranking takes a broad view of "psychology and law" and includes journals that 1) are interdisciplinary, 2) contain at least some emphasis on the law, and 3) contain at least some emphasis on psychology, psychiatry, or the social sciences. Although we tried to be comprehensive, we may have missed a journal. If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, feel free to contact us at laclab@asu.edu.

Journal Rankings
(Note: You can sort the list by clicking on each ranking measure)

Rank Journal Title SSCI-IF Change Trend Westlaw Google*
1 Law and Human Behavior 2.82 +.28 +.13 0.22 8.29
2 Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 1.92 -.07 -.13 0.41 7.97
3 Criminal Justice and Behavior 2.10 +.72 +.02 0.04 5.88
4 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 1.53 +.16 +.02 0.79 6.41
5 Law and Society Review 1.70 +.48 -.04 0.30 4.46
6 Behavioral Sciences and the Law 1.65 +59 +.05 0.08 5.01
7 Legal and Criminological Psychology 1.82 +.04 +.03 0.02 5.52
8 International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 1.20 +.20 +.12 0.04 4.32
9 Psychology, Crime, and Law 1.41 +.40 -.02 0.02 4.58
10 Annual Review of Law and Social Science 1.78 +.65 +.12 0.56 3.12
11 Law and Social Inquiry 0.95 +.09 +.09 0.38 3.10
12 Journal of Law and Society 0.80 +.11 -.10 0.09 1.95
13 Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology 1.00 +.40 +.03 0.01 2.40
14 Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice 0.61 +.23 +.06 -- 1.47
15 Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law 0.66 +.01 +.53 0.00 1.73
16 Crime, Law, and Social Change 0.67 +.18 +.08 0.03 2.71
17 Jurimetrics -- -- -- 0.58 1.73
18 Law and Psychology Review -- -- -- 0.51 --
19 Psychological Injury and Law -- -- -- 0.00 3.53
20 European J. of Psych. Applied to Legal Context 2.29 +1.29 +.34 -- 8.09
21 Int. J. of Forensic Mental Health 1.36 +.59 -- -- 3.07

Scatterplot of Impact Factors

The graph below plots each journal's impact factor in the psychology/social science literature (SSCI/JCR) and in the legal literature (Westlaw). Only journals that are ranked in both databases are included. The two reference lines represent the median impact factors across all psychology journals in SSCI and all legal journals in Westlaw. These lines create quadrants that identify journals that are high-impact in both psychology and law, only one of the fields, or neither. (Note: The Westlaw database ranking added several hundred journals this year, many with low imapct factors. This has significantly reduced that median IF.)


Measure Detail

  • Social Science Citation Index Impact Factor
    The Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) is the most common source of impact factor ratings. The SSCI is quite comprehensive within psychology and the social sciences; however, its database contains only a limited selection of legal journals and law reviews. Therefore, this ranking is biased toward each journal's impact within the psychology / social science literature.

  • SSCI Change
    This represents the absolute change in the SSCI/JCR impact factor from 2015 to 2016.

  • SSCI Trend
    For journals with at least five years of SSCI impact factor data, a linear regression analysis was conducting predicting SSCI impact factor from years 2011-2015. The resulting unstandardized regression coefficient (b) is reported. This coefficient represents the average year-to-year change in SSCI impact factor over this time period. For example, a trend of +.08 means that a paricular journal's impact factor has been rising by an average of .08 each year. Please note that this is a raw metric -- a .08 change is likely not meaningful to a journal with a very high impact factor, but it would represent a large drop if the journal's impact factor was only 0.40 in the first place.

  • Westlaw Impact Factor
    Average number of law review / legal journal citations articles in a particular journal received. These journals appear in the Law Journal Rankings compiled annually by John Doyle at Washington and Lee University's Law School. The impact factors are calculated from articles that appear in the Westlaw database and are current as of 2016. Westlaw is a comprehensive database of legal journals and law reviews, but it does not contain any non-legal social science journals. Therefore, this ranking is biased toward each journal's impact within the legal literature. Also, because of the different reference groups, these impact factors are not directly comparable to the SSCI impact factors.

  • * Google Scholar Citations
    Note: Due to changes in Google Scholar, it has become difficult to calculate this metric. These data are from 2016, and this will be the last year we report the Scholar data. Average number of times articles appearing in a particular journal were cited by any source within the google scholar database. The Google Scholar database is an extremely comprehensive database of scholarly research articles. Using specialized software to query the GS database, each of the journals found in either the JCR or Westlaw database listings was searched for all articles published in the years 2013, 2014, and 2015. Next, the total number of citations each of those articles received as of June 2016 was calculated. Dividing the total citation count by the number of articles published provides a measure that is similar to Impact Factor, as it is the average number of times those articles have been cited. Google Scholar includes citations within book chapters, pre-print and working articles, and journals that are not indexed by mainstream indices, the effect of which would be to inflate the citation counts. However, this database may also count book reviews, editor's notes, and commentaries as "articles," which would decrease the citation count. In an effort to produce more accurate calculations, editor commentaries, introductions to special issues, and reviewer acknowledgments were excluded from the calculations.